Students were diligently working on their benchmarks when a sudden chatter about former Spanish teacher Melanie Manuel flooded the classroom. Laptops flipped open and fingers raced across keyboards to find the video as soon as possible.
Melanie Manuel has a history of traveling to different countries around the world, but it was a shock when she had announced her new plans of moving to London, England. It was astounding to see that she would be apart of House Hunters International. Word of her appearance on the popular show spread like a wildfire among students.
Melanie and her partner Chris were featured on a 22-minute episode, featuring several housing options. After hearing about House Hunters from a friend in Philly, they filled out an application to be featured on the show. It was a way for them to explore their new city with great options and made sure that their answers would stand out among the many applicants.
The show’s producers expressed their interest about two months later with loads of follow-up questions and a video interview. They had to film themselves giving a house tour, to further their progress in securing their parts for the episode. To make sure they would stand out, they included quirky and witty responses on their application to showcase their colorful personalities.
“We wrote about how one of my partner’s favorite hobbies is growing his excellent beard,” told Manuel.
Former SLA digital video teacher Doug Herman was staying with them at the time, and he helped film their submission video before the big move.
“It was very silly. We played ping pong in the video and made jokes as we walked through the space. It was not a polished piece in any way–we didn’t edit anything– but it showed our personalities.”
After the episode aired, SLA students pounced on the news of Manuel’s TV debut. The former Spanish teacher was shocked.
“I had no idea they were going to find out as quickly as they did,” Manuel explained Within 12 hours of it airing, I got emails, text messages, and photos from people at SLA.”
Information spreads very quickly at the small school, especially something as big as an airing of an episode. It was a shock on both ends, and many became interested in watching immediately.
“I hope SLA students enjoyed the episode.” The world traveler explained. ”We had a great time filming it. Really, it’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever done yet in London and I’ve done a lot of fun things since we’ve moved here.”
Senior Olivia Musselman was quick to hear about the episode and watched it because many of her friends were talking about it. She saw it within the first couple of days of it becoming popular among members of the senior class.
“It was really interesting to see her outside of a school setting, she hasn’t really changed much as far as her personality. Since I knew her in person, I could tell that it was scripted because I know she doesn’t actually talk like that,” Musselman explained.
Olivia’s older brother had Ms. Manuel when he attended SLA, and since they both enjoyed having her as a teacher, she was quick to say, “Abe! You have to see this!”
The experience has helped create interesting conversation starters, which seemingly became convenient for them living in a new country. The teachers she just met were just as excited to watch the episodes as everyone back in Philadelphia.
“Our head of school was thrilled when she found out we were going to be on the show, it’s one of her favorites. She wanted to host a viewing party at her house, but it seems like everyone had already seen it within just a couple day of the initial airing.”
Lastly, Ms. Manuel expressed her emotions regarding a huge Philly success that she didn’t get to experience first hand.
“I still can’t believe the Eagles won the Super Bowl! A pub called “Passyunk Ave”, a Philly-themed pub in Central London, hosted a Super Bowl watching party. We didn’t miss out on the fun or the Philly love. But we did miss out on being able to celebrate the madness with our city, in our city, for our city.”